Wednesday, 27 January 2016

CHAIRMAN'S MESSAGE - Sean Edwards, ITFA Chairman / Head of Legal at SMBC

On behalf of the ITFA team, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy New Year and all the very best for 2016. May the year ahead bring good health, peace and prosperity.

My first start to the year as Chairman of ITFA brings with it enthusiasm for the year ahead whilst acknowledging the challenging twelve months gone by.

2015 was an unforgiving year for commodities and emerging markets. The major commodities across an array of sectors which pretty much are synonymous with global trade were heavily in the red for 2015, from the energy and mining sectors to the metals and grains sectors. And this all boils down to one of the fundamental theories of economics of demand and supply.

There have been sectors, such as the metals and grains sectors which were negatively impacted by the global economic glut (lack of demand), particularly within the Emerging Markets space. On the other hand, the price of oil for example has been adversely impacted by supply concerns as the leading oil-producing countries are pumping more oil than ever before, sending oil prices to multi-year lows, the consequence of which has driven some large energy companies into unchartered territory.

Equities, currencies, commodities, emerging markets, bonds are amongst the key asset classes which had their fair share of volatility in 2015, but few would have envisaged what the first trading sessions of 2016 would have in store for most investors.

Markets gave investors a crude awakening in the early trading sessions of 2016, with risky assets markedly off the table. From ongoing worries about weaker economic dynamics in China, and the possible implications this could have not only on emerging markets but also on the global economy, additional weakness in the price of oil and geopolitical tensions picking up in the Middle East; all these factors ensured that 2016 was a start to the year many investors are willing to forget. And possibly the above three themes could pretty well shape the rest of the year.

Surety has grown steadily over the last ten years. In this issue of the newsletter, Silja Calac explains that insurance has become a more and more important part of international trade finance. We will also introduce you to one of the newly elected ITFA Board members; Zeyno de Vries-Davutoglu whose role within the Board primarily entails ensuring that ITFA members are kept abreast with the educational aspect of the industry.

We are currently compiling a list of scheduled events for 2016. Shortly, this will be available on our ITFA website and will be updated on an ongoing basis. We will communicate with you on this matter accordingly.

We look forward to hearing from you with any feedback you may want to share with us by sending an email to myself, any of the Board Members or to our general email,  

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